Direct dating affinity

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Searchmate has disputed Aileen’s claims and said it had not received any correspondence from her after the letter was sent in November.

It said it made a number of attempts to call her since, but that it had not been able to reach her.

Searchmate had so far suggested four – two of whom she’d already seen on rival site Plentyoffish.com, a free site, and who had both already declined to date her.

In November she received a letter from a Searchmate adviser saying that her membership was “not progressing as expected”.

So in May last year Aileen stumped up £1,295 for membership.

It offered her “unlimited personal introductions” to men serious about finding a relationship.

Aileen was promised support from Searchmate’s highly experienced team of matchmakers, and a guaranteed minimum of 15 recommendations.

Online dating scams: new tricks that fleece victims of an average '£9,589' But in November last year, Aileen felt a growing sense of disappointment as five months had passed and she had yet to meet any men.

Another Telegraph Money reader, who does not wish to be named, turned to online dating after his relationship came to an end in February.

The site explained that this was down to most of the gentlemen who were active within her area “going on hold”, meaning they could no longer be contacted.

Searchmate offered to upgrade Aileen to its “Platinum” membership, a service via which customers are assigned their very own matchmaker who will proactively look for potential matches outside Searchmate’s client base.

He claimed to be a high flier in a major American toy firm, but then managed to convince her to give him £200 for medical treatment, encouraging her to take out credit cards.

“Getting sucked into this made me feel really stupid,” Aileen said.

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